The British newspaper The Independent announced yesterday that it would no longer be reviewing any book that was specifically marketed at one gender. While their announcement certainly did its job – garnering a wave of free publicity for the newspaper and allowing them to slap their own backs quite forcefully – it’s not helping the young men and women they claim to be looking out for or the authors whose books will be measured by these new standards.
Most authors have little to no say in how the books they write are marketed. Those decisions are made by highers-up at publishing companies, with the actual writer just hoping that their book will manage to somehow stand out from the pack of new releases. Choosing to boycott a book based on to whom it’s being marketed is kind of like boycotting a band based on who goes to their concerts – there is not much that the actual creator of the work can do. Keep reading »
“Of course I’m a feminist … I know that I get talked to in label meetings and by executives like a woman. It’s demoralising and sneering, and we apparently don’t have an opinion. It’s done in a way to make you feel ashamed, whether they know they’re doing it or not. There are women in the room, in those meetings, and no-one says, ‘Don’t talk to her like that.’ That’s the only way I feel like it’s going to change, when people start saying, ‘You can’t fucking do that!’”
Lily Allen fans were collectively confused last week when the pop star was quoted in The Shortlist saying she “hates” the word feminism because “it shouldn’t even be a thing anymore.” The “Hard Out Here” singer continued that there was no “man version of feminism” and that “I don’t think men are the enemy, I think women are the enemy.” The blogosphere veritably exploded. Plenty of people wondered why Lily, who has spoken up about feminism, politics and body image issues numerous times, would say such a thing. Well, she would like a do-over: Lily told the UK’s The Debrief that she was misquoted and misunderstood. What she apparently meant was that feminism should no longer need to exist, because men and women should be treated equally, and that jealousy amongst women is as harsh as anything the patriarchy does. I still think she should be more careful how she speaks, though. [The Debrief UK] [Image via Getty]
We know that conservative Republicans go batshit insane over the idea of the Affordable Healthcare Act covering preventative health care like birth control. But thanks to “The Daily Show,” we now know that America has bigger problems, literally: Medicare is spending millions on penis pumps. The program has spent $172 million in the past five years, to be exact. Apparently there are a lot of limp penises in need in the United States. How did contraception manage to be considered a more controversial use of government money than a contraption that makes your dick big and hard? Of course, Samantha Bee addresses this hypocrisy in a way that nobody else could. [NARAL]
Before she transcribed this interview, our intern told me that she wasn’t entirely sure who Anita Hill was. I could hardly blame her. Even with a segment on the Anita Hill testimony during a gender studies class in college, I didn’t know too much about Anita Hill myself.
The new documentary,”ANITA,” revisits Anita Hill’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 after she revealed that her former employer, Clarence Thomas, had sexually harassed her. A quiet law professor in Oklahoma, Hill had privately revealed the sexual harassment she suffered under Thomas, which was then leaked to the press. Immediately thrust in the public eye, she was asked to publicly testify against Thomas and decided to go for it. Sexual harassment laws were on the books, but this was the first time in many people’s memory that a woman subordinate to a very powerful man had spoken out. Not at all surprisingly, Hill was repeatedly asked to repeat graphic testimony about Thomas’ behavior; she was accused of being a liar or a “scorned woman”; and worst of all, treated as if it were her character that was under consideration. That both Hill and now Supreme Court Justice are both Black only added another layer of pressure to her decision to speak up. Thomas famously accused the 14 all-white men seated on the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Hill’s allegations of conducting a “high tech lynching.” (He later blamed “pro-choice liberals” for going after him.) Eventually, Thomas was narrowly confirmed by the Senate. Keep reading »
“Oftentimes in films, even if you do have a really strong woman, there’s jealousy and envy among her sisters. So you’ll have this really empowered leader, who’s a chick, and then she has some sort of envious relationship with another woman in the movie. And in ["Divergent"], there’s no envy and no jealousy–no ridiculous girl-fights. It’s such an important message to send out there in this age of feminism because, yes, men need to respect women, and women need to be the leads of films, but at the same time, how do we expect men to respect women if women don’t respect women? A big theme in my life is sisterhood, and I think that this movie is a really great representation of that–of being there and supporting one-another without the malicious attacks that so often come in movies and media. So many women feel so much anger towards other women.”
“Divergent” star Shailene Woodley is doing nothing to abate my raging crush on her. A lot of actresses don’t even give very complete answers when they are asked about women’s representation in film and feminism, but Shai —that’s what I’d call her if we were friends, which we are in my head— just brings it up herself and says something really intelligent about it. I haven’t read the Divergent books, but knowing that it’s got a feminist bent kind makes me want to read them now. Between “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games,” we really are in a golden age of positive role models in films for teens! [The Daily Beast] [Image via Getty]
If you’ve done any reading on the Internet about the business of sex work, chances are you’ve come across Melissa Gira Grant. She’s written about sex, politics, labor and tech everywhere from the UK’s Guardian to The Atlantic to Jezebel and Valleywag, making her one of the top intellectuals to turn to when America needs an explanation about why we’re so weird about sex.
A former “web cam girl,” Grant just published her latest book, Playing The Whore: The Work Of Sex Work, which is unlike any book about sex work or feminism that I’ve ever read. In it, she critiques law enforcement’s treatment of actual or perceived sex workers; labor issues surrounding sex work; and the tendency for governments and some outreach workers to treat all sex workers as “victims” in need of being “rescued.” However complicated you might have thought issues pertaining to sex work were before, Grant’s excellent book is extraordinarily illuminating.
Grant recently spoke to me about “whore stigma,” feminism, police, and the media’s struggle to accurately cover sex workers. Our Q&A begins after the jump: Keep reading »